Could This Be?
Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Recently, I was reading about the Samaritan woman in John 4 and it struck me, as it always does, how beautiful and powerful this story is. I have not had five husbands, but I can relate to this woman on a number of levels. I once wrote a backstory on her and preached it to my congregation. Taking artistic license, I set the stage in a bar called "The Well." Playing the role of the woman, acting drunk and depressed, I complained out loud about my lot in life. It was a dramatic tale tinged with deep-rooted bitterness and great sorrow. Of course, we don't know what really happened to motivate five marriages and a live-in boyfriend, so I made it up. I imagined her being married to the love of her life, living the happily ever after dream only to come home one day to find him dead on the floor. I imagined a second marriage to a man who berated her for being barren and slept with her best friend. After being cast out of that marriage I imagined her finding a man who promised her the moon and then beat her night after night. And so the story went on one sad tale after another that left her riddled with shame, guilt, and bitterness; culminating in a nightly routine of numbing herself with drugs and alcohol.
It’s not such a far stretch to believe that this could have happened. Life doesn't always turn out the way we think it will. Sadly, we often cast judgments on someone when we don't know what they’ve been through. That's why I made up this backstory, so we could see the woman at the well as a human being--a woman who didn't start out the way she ended--a woman, like all of us, who had hopes and dreams for a good life.
And then the story takes a turn. And this is the part that always moves me to tears. Jesus goes to her. That’s key right there. He meets her in the middle of her circumstances and knowing every detail of her story (the real one), loves her perfectly; without condemnation. He sees her as she truly is and she experiences the freedom that launches her into her destiny.
She ran. Yes, she ran without looking back. She didn't take her water jar--she didn't need it--she was filled with living water. This is what it looks like when we encounter our Savior. Our hearts are captured by the One who sees us, knows us, died for us, and loves us into eternity. It changes everything. How can we not share this good news with others?
And that’s what she does. The woman at the well, though hated and scorned, ran off to tell anyone who would listen, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (v.29) She shared her testimony, connecting with others on a deeply human level. We all have stories of brokenness. No one goes through life unscathed. Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He is the answer to our troubles and the hope when all else seems hopeless. The woman at the well experienced the manifestation of this hope. And so she loved others enough to share her story and to pose the question that she knew we all have to ask ourselves. Could this be the Messiah?
Jesus sees you, knows you, loves you. He took all the weight of your pain and suffering on Himself because He loves you more than you know. He didn’t wait for you to be perfect and have it all together. That’s not His way. His priority has always been to redeem you; give you His righteousness (life as it should be). His desire is to reconnect you with your heavenly Father who is running out to meet you with open arms. And then He gives you His Spirit to comfort, guide, and empower you to walk in the reality of who you were always created to be. Not a shadow of yourself--but the real deal. No, it’s not all lollipops and roses. There will still be tough times, but God will never leave your side and together you’ll experience the happily ever after ending that never ends--eternity with Christ.
So I pose these questions for your consideration, “Could Jesus be who He says He is, and are you willing to find out?”